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Sallie Mae loans

Pay for college or personal expenses with this big-name lender.

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Sallie Mae might be one of the most well-known student loan providers in the country. But it doesn’t just offer financing to pay for college. You can also get a personal loan or a K-12 education loan through this lender. While it offers competitive rates and a simple online application, its poor customer reviews might make you want to think twice before borrowing.

What types of loans does Sallie Mae offer?

Sallie Mae offers student loans to pay for undergraduate and graduate programs, as well as personal loans. Here’s how they break down:

Student loans

Sallie Mae has been in the student loan business for over 40 years and has a wide selection available. Its standard undergraduate student loans come with fixed rates from 5.12% to 14.73% APR and variable rates from 4.37% to 11.23% APR. It also offers a 0.25% rate discount for signing up for automatic repayments.

You can borrow as little as $1,000 up to 100% of your school-certified expenses and pay back your loan over five to 15 years. It gives you the option to hold off or make reduced payments until six months after you leave school. Plus, it offers access to educational and financial literacy resources.

Other Sallie Mae student loans include options to cover graduate school, medical school, residencies, law school, bar exam costs, MBA programs and K-12 education.
Sallie Mae student loans review

Personal loans

Sallie Mae also offers personal loans on an invitation-only basis. To qualify, you must first receive an offer code in the mail or by email. These loans range from $3,000 to $35,000 and come with fixed rates from 2.75% to 10.75% APR. You can choose between a 3 years or 5 years loan term, though you can repay it early without getting hit with a fee.
Sallie Mae personal loans review

Why should I consider taking out a loan with Sallie Mae?

From its variety of student loan products to its competitive rates, there are a few perks of borrowing with Sallie Mae:

  • Competitive rates. Its student loan and personal loan rates compare with those of some of the top online lenders in both categories.
  • Well-known name. If you’re more comfortable borrowing with a lender you’ve heard of before, Sallie Mae might be a good choice for you.
  • US-based customer service team. You’ll always be talking to someone in the US if you have any questions or want to apply over the phone.
  • Flexible in-school repayments. On some student loans, Sallie Mae gives you the option of making interest-only or reduced repayments — or holding off entirely until six months after you leave school.
  • Goes beyond just paying for college. Parents can borrow to pay for their kid’s K-12 education or college. Law and medical students can find financing for career-related post-graduate expenses as well.

Where does Sallie Mae fall short?

Not sure Sallie Mae is right for you? Consider these potential drawbacks before applying:

  • Can’t check your rate. Sallie Mae doesn’t allow you to find out what rates you might qualify for by prequalifying for its loans.
  • Invitation-only personal loans. You can’t apply for a Sallie Mae personal loan unless you receive an offer code first.
  • Limited loan terms. Its personal loans come with just two loan terms, and its private student loans only range from five to 15 years — many lenders offer a 20- or even 25-year option.
  • Negative customer reviews. As of December 2018, customers didn’t have anything good to say about Sallie Mae on Trustpilot or the Better Business Bureau.

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How much will it cost me to borrow with Sallie Mae?

Sallie Mae doesn’t charge any application or origination fees on any of its loan products. There’s also no prepayment penalty, so you can save on interest by paying back your loan early.

If you’re late on a student loan repayment, Sallie Mae charges a late fee of 5% of the amount due or $25 — whichever is less. Personal loans come with a flat $15 late fee. If a payment bounces, Sallie Mae charges a fee of $20 on its student loans and $25 on its personal loans.

What do borrowers say about Sallie Mae?

For such a big name, Sallie Mae doesn’t have much of an online reputation as of December 2018. But what’s there isn’t good.

It’s been accredited with the Better Business Bureau since 2015, which gives it an A+ rating based on factors like transparency and time in business. However, 30 customers gave it an average 1 out of 5 stars. It fares similarly poorly on Trustpilot, earning a relatively meaningless 6.1 out of 10 based on two bad customer reviews.

Several customers complained about getting harassed about repayments, while others were frustrated with the quality of customer service when they needed to make a change to their loan.

Are Sallie Mae loans safe?

Generally, yes — though there’s no such thing as an online loan that’s 100% safe. Its website uses SSL encryption to protect any information you enter online. And there’s always the option to apply over the phone.

When it comes to your personal information, Sallie Mae only shares details about your transactions, experiences and creditworthiness with its affiliates — the rest stays inside the company. You can also opt out of having your information shared by calling 855-582-1928.

How to apply for a loan with Sallie Mae

You can apply for a Sallie Mae loan online or over the phone by calling 855-756-5626 for its student loans or 844-559-1332 for its personal loans. Here’s how you can apply online:

  1. Go to the Sallie Mae website.
  2. Click I’m ready to apply if you want to take out a student loan and jump to step 4. For personal loans, click Banking and then Learn more under the header Sallie Mae Personal Loan.
  3. To apply for a personal loan, click I have a personal offer code. Enter your offer code and click Start application.
  4. Follow the directions to complete your personal or student loan application.
  5. Review your information to make sure everything is correct before submitting.
  6. Go over your offer and read the terms and conditions before signing your loan documents.

Eligibility requirements

Eligibility requirements vary depending on what type of loan you’re applying for.

Student loan eligibility requirements

You’re eligible for a Sallie Mae student loan if you:

  • Attend an eligible degree-granting US institution.
  • Are a US citizen or permanent resident — or have a cosigner who is.
  • Are over 18 years old.
Personal loan eligibility requirements

You’re eligible for a Sallie Mae personal loan if you:

  • Received an offer code.
  • Have a valid US checking account.
  • Are a US citizen or permanent resident.
  • Are over 18 years old.

More about Sallie Mae

Opening its doors in 1972, Sallie Mae started out as a state-sponsored company offering federal student loans. It began providing private student loans in 2004 and split to become SLM Corporation — the company that offers student and personal loans — and student loan servicer Navient.

It recently started offering personal loans on an invitation-only basis and plans to expand to other areas of personal finance such as credit cards.

Bottom line

Sallie Mae is one of the oldest names in student loans — and one of the newest in personal loans. It offers competitive rates and a simple application, but its negative customer reviews might make you want to look elsewhere.

Find out how Sallie Mae compares to other personal loan and student loan providers by reading our guides.

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